Grateful Dead

What do they believe? What do you think? Talk about religion as it exists today.
John2
Posts: 2587
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Grateful Dead

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:50 pm

Oh, it's so nice to revisit 1972. While it's not my favorite version, this Jack Straw was the first I ever heard and it takes me back (to 1992!). "There ain't a place a man can hide, Shannon, will keep him from the sun."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAv71VbdkBc

And this is still my favorite Cumberland Blues (and as the Dead's lyricist Robert Hunter once said, "The best compliment I ever had on a lyric was from an old guy who'd worked at the Cumberland mine. He said, 'I wonder what the guy who wrote this song would've thought if he'd ever known something like the Grateful Dead was gonna do it' “).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDWRZEd3Ouc
May the four winds blow you safely home.

John2
Posts: 2587
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Grateful Dead

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:10 pm

And while I'm here (again), I came across this video from 1989 the other day and I've never seen Jerry look so happy. I can see how this energy carried over to those Alpine Valley shows two weeks later (and Bobby's got his short shorts on). "Whistle through your teeth and spit 'cause it's alright." And as a commenter says, "No matter how bummed I get, this band picks me back up every time."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH309ri5M_4

I've never heard the studio version of Sugaree before, and it sounds nice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GikGnKuehms

You know, I've been meaning to mention a song I've always liked that they played in the years I like the most (1972-1974 and then brought back in 1990) and that I tend to be very picky about and have never found the "best" version of ... until now. I really like this one (from a show that was a month after another show I like and linked to above in which the bass player says at the end, "See you next month at the Cow Palace").

It's kind of a strange song, one that, like Bob Weir's guitar playing style has been described, walks like its knees bend backwards, and which builds up to a powerful ending ("I'm going back home, that's what I'm gonna do"). And as a former backpacking vagabond, it has lyrics that have always resonated with me ("Alone with the rush of the drivers that won't pick me up, the highway, the moon, the clouds and the stars").

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtuImGatMUg
It’s the kind of strangeness, musically, that is quintessential Weir. He seems to manage, throughout his songwriting career, to challenge himself to not be happy with the easy answers when it comes to the music itself, and I really like that.

http://www.dead.net/features/greatest-s ... ind?page=2
Wow! You just never know what you're gonna get from this band. Thinking about the show that was a month before the above Cow Palace show reminds me that it was part of a run of three shows, but I haven't listened to the other two much before for some reason, so here they are for me to explore. And to judge from the Jack Straw in the first one (and the following Eyes of the World I'm currently listening to for the first time) and the overall sound quality (despite some kinks that were typical for the year, like low vocals), I'm wondering why it's taken me so long to get to them.

And for what it's worth on the first one, so far I also like that Beat it on Down the Line, Black Throated Wind (another good one!), Big River, and while I'm not a big Playing in the Band fan, this one's "okay" as far as they go, I Know You Rider, Truckin' and Nobody's Fault But Mine ("if I don't read my soul gets lost"). So I'll call this one a "good" but not great show (so far). Also, the show actually starts at track 8 since what comes before that is from a soundcheck.

https://archive.org/details/gd1974-02-2 ... s3t05.flac

https://archive.org/details/gd1974-02-2 ... 607.flac16

And for the sake of completion, here is the third show, which is one of my favorites, with a good Dark Star (particularly the last two minutes of it), Beat it on Down the Line, a great I Know You Rider (one of my favorites), a good El Paso, Loser and Cumberland Blues, my favorite Ship of Fools, Morning Dew and It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, and one of my top three Jack Straws.

https://archive.org/details/gd1974-02-2 ... d1t09.flac

As a reviewer writes:
A thoroughly solid show! Words will not embellish the quality of the tunes, nor will they adequately add anything to what other heads have already commented upon, but I just cannot help offering up how blown away I am after listening to these Feb. Winterland shows. There’s a reason that this particular night gets more of the attention than the previous two nights and that is they were firing on all cylinders with a smooth, fluid show that aside from a few glitches at the beginning of US Blues is virtually flawless, unless one is hypersensitive to particulars. From DS on just WOW! mind blown! That Morning Dew is off the charts. Cornell ‘77 would never have occurred w/o performances like this. I call this super elevation levitation. Towards the end of Dew during the jam Bobby and Phil lock in and provide a very flexible platform for Jerry to just elevate the energy to infinity and beyond. Throughout the entire show they are all equally locked in on a musical telepathy that permeates our speakers and provides a multi-dimensional sound that welcomes and energizes all who listen. I have no doubt that if Bob Dylan were to listen to this version of Its All Over Now Baby Blue he’d be psyched (in some way, shape or form) and might shed a tear or two for his fallen brother. Just a solid show from a solid 3 night run of amazingness. I know there are other nights during ‘74 that are equally if not more impressive but you certainly will not be disappointed with this show. Thanks to the archives and all who allow my ears and mind to be continually to be blown away by the amazing unique sound of the GD. Keep the archive flowing.
Eh, the second show isn't doing much for me yet (aside from Here Comes Sunshine, which I've already heard before), but I'm loving revisiting the third one. And while wondering where that great I Know You Rider in the third show ranks on headyversion.com I came across another "China/Rider" that sounds interesting in what seems like an interesting show (6/26), so I'm going to put it here so I can explore it more too. And while I'm more of a "Rider" than a "China" guy, this "China" has the most interesting intro I have ever heard.

https://archive.org/details/gd1974-06-2 ... lower.flac

Whoa. This show is blowing my mind. Outstanding versions of everything I've heard so far. An instant favorite. Yeah! 1974!!! I used to wish I had every show from that year, and it's great to be able to explore them on the Archive now.

So here's another one (5/14), which, to judge from the Jack Straw test (which is how I tend to initially judge shows), I have a good feeling about.

https://archive.org/details/gd1974-05-1 ... d1t07.flac

That's a top five Jack Straw for me. And that's a charging Scarlet Begonias, and a good Black Throated Wind too. This is a great show, in a great year.
... the only concert performed by the Grateful Dead in Montana.

In Rolling Stone, Will Hermes wrote, "on this era-epitomizing set, recorded at the University of Montana, [the Grateful Dead are] on point. Jerry Garcia's wah-wah and Keith Godchaux's Fender Rhodes pull jams into Miles Davis free funk territory; vocalist Donna Godchaux adds signature off-notes; and the slow stuff shines brightest."

On NPR, Milo Miles said, "this does seem like an exceptional Grateful Dead gig. Many even very strong Dead shows have a period where the band's impulses get out of sync and the momentum gets lost for a few, or quite a few, minutes. That doesn't happen here, even in the extended "Weather Report Suite" that incorporates "Dark Star" and "China Doll." Just as surprising, keyboardist Keith Godchaux and his wife, singer Donna, are at their most precise and restrained; their ability to enrich the band's sound is evident."

On AllMusic, Fred Thomas wrote, "Saying the band was deep into one of its jammier phases would be a tremendous understatement, with the set list getting into exploratory versions of crowd favorites like "Jack Straw" as well as a stunning rendition of "Weather Report Suite" that blurs into a particularly epic "Dark Star", as well as some of the most jazz-influenced playing the Dead would branch into that year on "Playing in the Band"."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave%27s_Picks_Volume_9

Back in the day I had a copy of this other show from 1974 (7/19 in Fresno) which I never really got into or understood all the fuss about, and I am now determined to finally figure it out. It almost makes me feel like I've never heard the Dead before and need some guidance, so I'm going by these two reviews (and a Charlie Miller soundboard) to help me out.


https://archive.org/details/gd1974-07-1 ... d2t01.flac

This is a typical show of the period...which means totally fucking awesome! The boys were really on a roll in Summer '74. Some of my all time favorites come from this period. Love the unique jazzy jams and that Wall of Sound mix.
This one has showcase versions of Playin' and Scarlet, some of the finest versions of these tunes come from this period.
The real reason to pick this show over others with similar setlists, is the unique one-time-only transition between Spanish Jam and Eyes. Bobby playing loose and lively with Keith pounding away on the electric piano, I love that funky sound he gets! Billy snapping away on the snare and Jerry just nailing it to the wall as he was so apt to do in the mid-70s. A transcendent moment that deserves its place in the Hallowed Hall of Immortal Grateful Dead Jams.

A real oddball for '74; I can understand those with some reservations about it, even though this thing is ultimately pretty amazing; some caveats and highlights abound:

Set 1 - that "soundcheck jam" really isn't anything to get hot and bothered over - a one-time listen might be fun, but it's just kind of a lazy bluesy shuffle that doesn't go anywhere or do anything. Seems that they should have done it more, as when Bertha swings into gear they've clearly not got the overall mix right; this is one of those where Billy's drum overpowers every single other instrument; I'd try instead starting this set from Mexicali, if those things bother you...

SCARLET. Listen to that first solo from Jer and tell me this thing isn't cut from hot, grade-A cloth - yowwww, that's cool stuff. Playin', as usual, runs the gamut of water-psychedelic etherealness; Seastones, if you have the patience and concentration for this kind of avant-garde, rewards...

Set 2 comes off rickety, sloppy, worn, but within that shakiness there is some excellent music. He's Gone > US Blues is a prime example of them not really having it completely together but still managing to soldier on; it's the devastating power of Bobby's Weather Report melted down into a Spanish Jam that gets me giddy. Listen to the opening of the WRS - man, how I wish they kept the entire suite intact in later years. The Eyes > China Doll rounds out the set beautifully, again with a bit of shakiness on the lyrics, but it survives - let the "bad" of this show illustrate more clearly the "good".

That's my favorite Playing in the Band now. But I've been going back and forth on the rest of this show. It kind of reminds me of the way I feel about 6/23/74 (which has the most beautiful Jack Straw I've ever heard and linked to somewhere upthread), i.e., quiet and easy to miss. And I've never heard them play Jack Straw like they do here either (and I like it). And that's my favorite Me and My Uncle now (something I never thought I'd have) and a good Eyes of the World.

Though it has its moments, on the whole I'm still not wild about this show. The copy I used to have started at He's Gone so it was nice to hear the rest of it at least.

But there are other shows, and this other one from 1974 I've read good things about (8/6) seems more promising. The Jack Straw alone (which is also going in my top five) sounds better to me than all of 7/19, and Eyes of the World and Scarlet Begonias sound better to me than in the latter as well.

https://archive.org/details/gd1974-08-0 ... s1t06.flac

Wow, that's an amazing Eyes. After a second listen I'm inclined to call it the most impressive one I've ever heard.

This show is a mix of soundboard and audience recordings, which I've been appreciating more lately but still have some reservations about, and in this case it's simply what sounds best to me of the recordings available for it on the Archive (which are pretty much otherwise audience recordings).

It's interesting how the "feel" of one show can differ from another (state of mind, performance or recording-wise), and these last two shows illustrate this well for me. Factoring in my particular hearing, musical tastes, recording options (and new headphones), I just like the way the elements that constituted the Grateful Dead came together more in 8/6 than in 7/19. I'm putting the former in the "keeper" column for the year (along with 2/24, 5/14, 6/18 and 6/26).

And I just got a chance to hear the Playing in the Band in this show, and I guess it could just be the year, but that is the craziest, most insane Playing I've ever heard. Geez. This show is very rewarding, and if I could find a soundboard recording for it I might call it the best show of the year and my all-time favorite.

BTW, a Dead Head acquaintance recommended a Grateful Dead cover band called Joe Russo's Almost Dead that I'm finally getting around to listening to, and they sound great!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfWZuYFSgec
Last edited by John2 on Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
May the four winds blow you safely home.

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